The Pi Zero Drone Part 2: Construction of the Frame

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The Pi Zero Drone Part 2: Construction of the Frame

May 09, 2018

Michael Perry


With the correct thrust calculations from the Gartt 2300KV motors being done. I can now begin the design of the quadcopter. I would like to include that I have no real quadcopter experience other than cheap micro-copters and have spent a lot of time breaking props and arms with those. Any information from design has been from online sources in forums and experience in engineering projects from classes and extra-curricular clubs. This would be a great build for anyone excited about learning new skills and not afraid to break a couple of plastic parts along the way.

 

pi zero

 

pi zero

 

pi zero

 

pi zero

 

pi zero

 

All the design work has been made in Solidworks 2015. My goal was to design a quadcopter under 400 grams made from PLA and ABS parts. Here is the final assembly (not including electronics).

 

pi zero

 

Note that all parts are connected by slots that will be glued into place when construction is finished.

 

pi zero

 

Now let me explain the “brains” of the operation, the PXFmini Raspberry Pi shield from Erle Robotics. This shield is marketed as an autopilot shield that uses the Raspberry Pi’s Linux-based processing. It is perfect for making robots and drones. This shield offers official access to Robot Operating Systems (ROS) with access to the app store.  The shield fits nicely over the Pi Zero but can be used on most models from the Raspberry Pi family. Once the shield is shouldered into place, flash Erle Robotics Debian image that is a one click stop for the Erle-Copter software that will run the drone.

 

Two 12C ports are available for sensor readings along with 8 PWM output channels and 1 PPM-Sum Input Channel to control the quadcopter via remote control. These are where the ESCs will connect. My first goal is to control the quadcopter with remote control then I will move to the autopilot settings using Mission Planner and APM software to control the rotors.